John Sides

John Sides is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University.

Recent Articles

Belgium Has a Federal Government

It only took 18 months.  Here’s a Wall Street Journal story.  Hat tip to David Fortunato.  Here’s his earlier post on the subject.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood’s Seat Bonuses Confirmed

More from Andrew Reynolds:

Yesterday on the Monkey Cage I predicted how parties would split the first 168 seats up for grabs in the Egyptian People’s Assembly.

We now have preliminary results from the run-off races in all bar two of the 56 majority district seats being contested. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has done a little better than I predicted, the Salafi Nour party a little worse. One tiny ray of sunshine for the liberals is that the Revolution Continues alliance picked up a few more seats than might have been expected. Indeed, liberal and secular candidates came from second place to win five seats in the run-offs held this week.

The FPJ did better than I predicted. Results reported in the Egyptian media today show that the second place candidate from the first round overtook the frontrunner to win the seat in 13 of the run-off races. The FJP were overtaken in three races by liberals and by a Nour candidate in another. But FJP candidates came from behind in seven districts and held onto their first place leads everywhere else. Nour candidates were the biggest losers in the run-off, losing their leads in six races and only coming back in one. This maybe the first evidence that the Salafi vote is capped at around a quarter of the popular vote and the Nour Party finds it difficult to build alliances and coalitions in the run-off races.

When compared to the PR vote share overall the Muslim Brotherhood led FJP are overrepresented by 13% and they poised to take the psychologically important 50% of seats in this first stage of elections. Along with the Nour and Wasat parties, Islamists have 72% of the seats. All other parties are slightly underrepresented, apart from the slight overrepresentation of the Revolution Continues party which represents some of the Tahrir Square groups.

As I noted yesterday the election now moves away from Cairo and Alexandria to the rest of the country. The first nine governorates were highly urban and in places where the liberals expected to do best. The next two rounds are being held in governorates which are rural and considered Islamist strongholds. Today it seems even more likely that by January the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP will win a comfortable parliamentary majority on little more than 40% of the popular vote.

The Decline of the Postal Service and the Decline of Direct Mail

While the effective demise of other first-class correspondence has strengthened political mail so far, the broader obsolescence of the mail gives reason for long-term concerns. Campaigns have timed their mail programs under the assumption that voters check their mailboxes daily. This week’s announcement by the postal service that it would eliminate next-day delivery guarantees for first-class mail will only make the post even less popular for time-sensitive communication like magazines, birthday cards, and Netflix discs. The possibility that nothing urgent ever arrives scares political consultants—young voters may never develop the habit of regularly looking in their mailboxes.

Blogging at Behind the Numbers

Dan Hopkins, Danny Hayes, and I will be contributing regularly to Behind the Numbers, the polling blog of the Washington Post.  The announcement is here.  We hope to be contributing discussion of new scholarly literature as well as our own analyses of polling data from the Post and others.  We thank Jon Cohen and the rest of the Post’s polling team for the opportunity.

Did Race Cost Obama in 2008?

Erik recently blogged about a new paper (pdf) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz that used Google searches to measure racial prejudice in American media markets and found this:

The estimates imply that racial animus in the United States cost Obama three to five percentage points in the national popular vote in the 2008 election.